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Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego
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Eugenio Barba




Eugenio Barba
was born in 1936 in Brindisi, Southern Italy. He created a Scandinavian laboratory theatre called Odin Teatret/Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium (1964), which still works in Holstebro (Denmark); and he founded the International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA) in 1979. In 1954, Barba emigrated to Norway, where he worked as a welder and sailor. He came to Poland in 1961 after receiving a UNESCO scholarship to study at the state theatre school PWST in Warsaw. Between 1962 and 1964, he worked with the Laboratory Theatre, assisting Grotowski during his work on Akropolis after Stanislaw Wyspiaski and The Tragical History of Dr Faustus after Christopher Marlowe. Based on these experiences, he wrote his first book dedicated to Jerzy Grotowski’s theatre – Alla ricerca del teatro perduto (In Search of a Lost Theatre, Padua, 1965).
Barba has directed sixty five performances with Odin Teatret (and with the Theatrum Mundi Ensemble), some of which are: My Father’s House (1972), Come! And the Day Will Be Ours (1976), Brecht’s Ashes (1980), The Gospel According to Oxyrhincus (1985), Talabot (1988), Kaosmos (1993), Mythos (1998), Andersen’s Dream (2005), Ur-Hamlet (2006), The Chronic Life (2011). Odin presented these performances in Poland in Lublin, Szczecin, Toru, Warsaw and Wrocaw (at the invitation of the Grotowski Centre and, later, the Grotowski Institute). Barba has received ten honorary doctorates for his artistic and scientific work from various universities, including: Århus (Denmark), Ayacucho (Peru), Bologna (Italy), Havana (Cuba), Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Warsaw (2003). He is on the editorial boards of journals such as TDR-The Drama Review, The Journal of Performance Studies, New Theatre Quarterly, Performance Research, and Teatro e Storia, and is a co-founder and co-editor of Icarus Publishing Enterprise. He has published many books, including Land of Ashes and Diamonds. My Apprenticeship in Poland. 26 Letters from Jerzy Grotowski to Eugenio Barba; Theatre: Solitude, Craft, Revolt, in collaboration with Nicola Savarese The Secret Art of the Performer: A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology; The Paper Canoe: A Guide to Theatre Anthropology and On Directing and Dramaturgy: Burning the House.

Odin Teatret was created in Oslo, Norway, in 1964, and moved to Holstebro (Denmark) in 1966, changing its name to Nordic Theatre Laboratory/Odin Teatret. Today, its members come from a dozen countries and three continents.
The Laboratory’s activities include: Odin’s own productions presented on site and on tour in Denmark and abroad; “barters” with various milieus in Holstebro and elsewhere; organisation of encounters for theatre groups; hosting other theatre groups and ensembles; teaching activity in Denmark and abroad; the annual Odin Week Festival; publication of magazines and books; production of didactic films and videos; research into theatre anthropology during the sessions of ISTA (the International School of Theatre Anthropology); periodic performances with the multicultural Theatrum Mundi Ensemble; collaboration with the CTLS, Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies of the University of Århus; the Festuge (Festive Week) in Holstebro; the triennial festival Transit devoted to women in theatre; OTA, the living archives of Odin Teatret’s memory; WIN, Workout for Intercultural Navigators; artists in residence; children’s performances, exhibitions, concerts, round tables, cultural initiatives and community work in Holstebro and the surrounding region.
Odin Teatret’s fifty years as a laboratory have resulted in the growth of a professional and scholarly milieu characterised by cross-disciplinary endeavours and international collaboration. One field of research is ISTA which since 1979 has become a performers’ village where actors and dancers meet with scholars to compare and scrutinise the technical foundations of their scenic presence. Another field of action is the Theatrum Mundi Ensemble which, since the early 1980s, presents performances with a permanent core of artists from many professional traditions.
 Odin Teatret has so far created seventy four performances, performed in sixty three countries and different social contexts. In the course of these experiences, a specific Odin culture has grown, founded on cultural diversity and the practice of “barter”: Odin actors present themselves through their work to a particular milieu which, in return, replies with songs, music and dances from its own local culture. The barter is an exchange of cultural manifestations and offers not only an insight into the other’s forms of expression, but is equally a social interaction which defies prejudices, linguistic difficulties and differences in thinking, judging and behaving.


The Chronic Life
Perfomance prepared inside the “Masters in Residence” programme

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The Chronic Life timeline

• 20–26 October 2010: The Collective Mind project, including workshops and rehearsals for a production; more than 40 witnesses took part in the work
• 19 September 2011: Danish premiere of The Chronic Life
• 13–16 October 2011: Polish performances of The Chronic Life
• 16 May 2012: Spanish premiere of The Chronic Life
• 26–28 October 2012: performances of The Chronic Life in Wrocaw

Flying timeline
• 16–22 September 2015: The Collective Mind project, rehearsals will attended by about 30 witnesses